A Kentucky clerk has been sued by four couples angered by the clerk’s refusal to issue marriage licenses to avoid having to issue same-sex marriage licenses. A federal lawsuit was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky against Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis on behalf of two homosexual and two heterosexual couples. The couples reported that they were each turned down when they tried to get marriage licenses from Davis’ office this week.
The suit comes after a landmark Supreme Court ruling giving same-sex couples the legal right to marry. Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear ordered all clerks to comply with the Supreme Court’s ruling. Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway warned the clerks that failure to comply with the ruling could open them up to civil liability and criminal charges. Defiant clerks could be charged with official misconduct, a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail, according to Warren County Attorney Ann Milliken, president of the Kentucky County Attorneys Association.
Davis is claiming that her religious beliefs prevent her from complying with the decision by the Supreme Court. Davis pledged to never issue a marriage license to a gay couple, saying, “It’s a deep-rooted conviction; my conscience won’t allow me to do that. It goes against everything I hold dear, everything sacred in my life.” Because of her beliefs, Davis has decided not to issue marriage licenses to any type of couple.
Davis was the subject of protests outside her office earlier this week regarding the matter. While some clerks in Kentucky initially resisted issuing same-sex marriage licenses, most have changed their minds and will be signing the licenses. A handful of judges and clerks across the South have cited the right to “religious freedom” as reasons to defy the Court’s order to allow same-sex couples to get married.
According to Decatur County, Tennessee Commissioner David Boroughs, on Thursday a county clerk and two office employees resigned from their positions due to their opposition to same-sex marriage. In Alabama, all counties appeared to be complying with the Supreme Court ruling, according to a report from The Associated Press. In Louisiana, most parish clerks have been issuing same-sex marriage licenses since Monday.